by Anne Greenwood Brown
Series: Lies Beneath #1
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him
Lies Beneath is the debut novel by Anne Greenwood Brown. Forget everything you know about merpeople as Brown gives us a glimpse into the darker side of the mermaid-myth. When I began reading this, I thought it was going to be a dark tale and I was really excited. It turned out to be lighter than I anticipated but I still ended up enjoying this tale. Lies Beneath has elements of danger, romance, family struggles, and revenge.
The tale begins when we meet protagonist merman, Calder White. He is spending time alone before his family sends the signal that they must migrate. We learn that merpeople in Brown’s world feed of humans, absorbing their energy in order to survive. Sadly this kills the human. Calder is different, as he has avoided feeding all winter. Despite the urges, he is uncomfortable with feeding. He receives a call from his sisters telling him they have located Jason Hancock. They will spend the summer seeking revenge against the human they blame for their mother’s death. The tale that unfolds is suspenseful as Calder struggles between honoring his mother, breaking free of his sister and falling in love. As they plot revenge, the Hancock family is moving into the old family estate located on the shores of Lake Superior.
The characters in Lies Beneath are all unique. Calder is unbelievably handsome, independent and a mer-misfit. He doesn’t enjoy feeding on humans and prefers to swim alone. Despite this, he agrees to help hunt and trap the man responsible for his mother’s death. When he meets the Hancock’s things change, as he begins to like this family. We witness his internal struggle as the tale is told from his point of view. I didn’t completely connect with him, but I think part of it was because he wasn’t completely human and his thought process was different. At times he was overly cocky and awkward. His sisters; Tallulah, Pavati, and Marisa behaved exactly as Brown described merpeople. They hunted and fed as needed. They freely used their abilities and I found myself both liking them and being repulsed by them. I didn’t feel any love connection between the siblings. The only connection seemed to be revenge. The only human we really got to know is Lily, although other characters help tell the tale. Lily is unique; she likes English poetry and dresses in her own creative style. She dreams of being a poet or writer. She is bright and quickly begins to piece things together. I liked that despite others efforts she manages to see through drama and form her own opinions.
The world-building was fascinating and reminded me of old siren tales, long before the popularity of the Little Mermaid. There has been a slew of mermaid-books of late, and I found Brown’s take refreshing. It has a lot of dark elements and I would have liked to have seen more of it. The romance between Lily and Calder was sweet and ultimately changes Calder. The back-history, unique abilities, and mer-lifestyle were original and I enjoyed reading it. Brown’s take on how merpeople reproduce was both interesting and frightening. I easily consumed this as the pace and writing style flowed well. While the plot was predictable, I enjoyed the ending nonetheless.
I think fans of paranormal romance and merpeople will enjoy Lies Beneath’s originality. Book two, Deep Betrayal, told from Lily’s perspective will be released in 2013. I have added Anne Greenwood Brown to my authors to watch list and look forward to continuing this story.